The recent elections to the European parliament led to the expected rise of populist parties, advocating anti-EU messages and fusions of right and left-wing positions. While the pro-EU conservative, socialist and liberal party families still hold about two thirds of the seats, the rise of the rebels – particularly from France and the UK (winning in both countries by a landslide), Greece, Hungary, the Netherlands and Austria – constitutes a significant challenge.
Over decades, a membership of Turkey in the EU has been debated and negotiated. Once again, the progress of negotiation seems to have stalled. There always were good reasons for finally integrating Turkey: a Muslim country as an EU-member state could demonstrate that the EU is not a “Club of Christians”. Also, Turkey’s influence in regional conflicts is substantial.
But the recent moves by the Erdogan government apparently put all hope for an EU-Turkish rapprochement to rest: the violent measures against the demonstrators around Gezi Park in 2013, voluntary shifting of hundreds of procurators and police officers, rude language from Prime Minister Erdogan himself, indicators of notorious corruption even in higher echelons of the state apparatus, increasing measures against social networks in Turkey, and the negligent reactions to the victims of the mining tragedy in Soma all show that Turkey may be sliding backwards.
Waves of asylum seekers, many of whom are actually labour migrants, constantly struggle to reach the shores of more developed countries such as Australia, Southern Europe, the United States and elsewhere. We can see these movements both as human tragedies where help is required, and the resulting pushback as attempts to regulate human capital influx.
(Paco Rivière/Flickr/Creative Commons)
How can we understand – beyond the differences – the similarities of cases like Catalonia, Crimea, Chechnya, the Karen state in Myanmar, Kashmir, Kosovo, the Kurds, Scotland, South Sudan, Xinjiang and Tibet in China, and most recently Venetia?